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St Andrew's College Unbeaten in UC Championship
The mood in the St Andrew’s bus coming back from Timaru last Saturday afternoon was unsurprisingly joyous. The team had beaten Roncalli College 83-5 that afternoon to remain unbeaten in the UC Championship after six matches so far this season.
What’s more, with 14 players back from last season, the St Andrew’s squad knows that they are inspiring not only those at their school, but many throughout Canterbury rugby.
“We only have about 170 boys in our senior school, so we don’t have a huge pool to choose from,” coach Mike Johnston says. “We had a good pre-season though and I think that it’s showing now. We are tracking pretty well at the moment and we don’t have any serious injuries, which is nice.”
With their annual match against Timaru Boys’ next on June 16, Johnston says that while, as the cliché goes, it is very much a team effort, St Andrew’s has a number of stars.
Centre Raymond Nu’u, in his third season with the squad, is certainly a stand-out, as is right wing Harry Murray (who scored five tries last weekend). The St Andrew’s front-row of Hamish Harrison, Jordan Smith and Martyn Woodhead is providing a solid platform, while captain and lock George Mirfin is leading by inspiration. The squad is a tight unit though. In a number of matches already this season they have had to dig deep and show character. Johnston says it has been reassuring to see the squad battle together in these situations and win.
Also coached by Joe Leota and Rod McIntosh, a crunch-match for St Andrew’s will be against Christchurch Boys’ on July 18. This game is being televised on Sky and CTV. Still, St Andrew’s is looking no further ahead than against Timaru next week.
“We made the top four in 2011-12 and so we know that when you start regularly winning schools target you more,” Johnston says. “We will just keep doing what we have been doing and enjoying our rugby. It’s one game at a time for us.”
St Andrew’s, which has produced seven All Blacks (the last of which was Ben Blair), is getting right behind their side. “We are certainly getting good crowds along to our games,” Johnston says. “The old Collegians and the school have got right behind us and the squad have really appreciated it.”
Photo - Ken Baker Photography
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